Dothan doctor would be “disappointed” if comments were made about her
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - A Dothan doctor said she would be disappointed to conclusively learn that the chairman of a board that oversees Southeast Health operations made disparaging comments about her.
Dr. Kelsey Steensland hoped a Houston County commissioner who preferred her would appoint her to the Houston County Healthcare Authority board.
“The obvious implication of those comments, if true, means that I was excluded from consideration because I am a woman and a mother,” said Dr. Kelsey Steensland in a statement to News4. “Using those factors as consideration of whether a woman is qualified for a position is a terrible example to set for the community.”
She refers to comments allegedly made by Chester Sowell, the Houston County Healthcare Authority chairman, during a meeting as part of the board’s selection process.
Houston County Commissioner Ricky Herring claims that Sowell referred to Steensland as a “girl” with a “boatload of kids.”
News of the comments brought swift reaction from others, including Houston County Chairman Brandon Shoupe, who called them distasteful and raised questions beyond those comments to what he believes is diminishing quality healthcare in Dothan.
The fact is that commissioners, including Herring, must choose from nominees provided by the Authority, and Steensland was missing from the list.
“I never intended to be, nor do I want to be a part of any controversy. I assumed I would be judged based on (my qualifications),” Steensland said.
Sowell said he had only the highest regard for Steensland and the other nominees last week.
Dr. Steensland’s full statement follows:
“I submitted my nomination because it would be an honor to serve on the board, and to serve the community in that capacity. In that respect, I submitted my Curriculum vitae for consideration. I never intended to be, nor do I want to be a part of any controversy. I assumed I would be judged based on the information in my CV. I did not put any information regarding my family or children in my CV, as it has no bearing on my education, training, and professional career. I have read about alleged comments that have been said in reference to my qualifications to serve on the board. If those comments were in fact made, then I am very disappointed. The obvious implication of those comments, if true, means that I was excluded from consideration because I am a woman and a mother. Using those factors as consideration of whether a woman is qualified for a position is a terrible example to set for the community. It undermines and diminishes the efforts that it took for me to become a physician. It would also undermine and diminish the efforts of current female students at ACOM and every female healthcare provider working for our community.”
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